Dan's Dugout: Pilot's plight inspires Bosox • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Pilot’s plight inspires Bosox

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PROVIDENCE, RI – In this stonghold of Red Sox Nation, less than an hour from Triple-A Pawtucket and not much further from Fenway, reaction is strong to the cancer diagnosis that sidelined Boston manager John Farrell for the rest of this season.

Everyone realizes that baseball, for all its billions, is just a game, while health is a matter of life and death.

John Farrell's cancer can be easily treated

John Farrell’s cancer can be easily treated

Farrell is actually lucky; his lymphoma was discovered during a routine hernia operation. And that wouldn’t have happened if the manager hadn’t hurt himself heaving an equipment bag.

To be sure, Boston has had a sorry season – for the second year in a row. The Sox are mired at the bottom of their division, looking up at four times that could make a legitimate claim as the Beast of the East.

But the news isn’t entirely bleak: Boston has a farm system widely considered the best in the big leagues and has an ownership that not only cares about the club’s image but is willing to spend money to maintain it.

Did the Red Sox pay by the pound for Pablo Sandoval?

Did the Red Sox pay by the pound for Pablo Sandoval?

It is not Farrell’s fault that Ben Cherrington thought signing Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval would boost the faltering offense of 2014. And he tried like crazy to keep ace lefthander Jon Lester from following Theo Epstein to the North Side of Chicago.

Pitching has been a thorny issue for the Sox all season. Justin Masterson has been designated for assignment, Wade Miley is a bigger bust than Eva Longoria, and Clayton Buchholtz has been more erratic than Donald Trump.

Hanley has not been able to handle left field and the out-of-shape

Pablo Sandoval has played more like Pablo Casals for Boston

Pablo Sandoval has played more like Pablo Casals for Boston

Sandoval has morphed from a Panda into a hippopatamus, unable to hit or field in his former San Francisco form. The Sox have already sliced payroll in shipping Mike Napoli back to Texas and more moves could be coming.

Since Farrell’s Friday announcement, however, the Red Sox have rallied. After pounding the visiting Seattle Mariners, 15-1, on Friday, they jumped all over Cy Young favorite Felix Hernandez in a 22-10 romp Saturday. Then they scored in the ninth to forge an 8-8 tie Sunday before losing in extra innings.

Torey Lovullo, the interim pilot, just has one assignment: get through the next six weeks without embarrassing the owners or the city. The Red Sox surely have the resources, both in talented young players and in free agent dollars, to resurface as contenders next year – when Farrell plans to return with a clean bill of health.

Red Sox Nation should have an interesting winter ahead. Stay tuned.

Elsewhere in baseball:

It’s not every day that a 12-game winner is sent to the minors but that’s exactly what happened to Drew Hutchison, Toronto’s Opening Day starter, on Monday, since with the Jays won’t need a fifth starter before the end of the month . . .

Zack Grienke is a strong NL Cy Young contender

Zack Grienke is a strong NL Cy Young contender

If the Dodgers reach the postseason, as seems likely, the left-right punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke could prove as lethal as the 2001 Diamondbacks tandem of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling [9-1 with five complete games, three shutouts, 103 strikeouts in 89 2/3 innings, and 1.30 ERA while working 58 per cent of the D’backs’ games that October] . . .

Matt Cain may have pitched a perfect game once but he’s no Giant this season with a 6.05 ERA that threatens to bump him to the bullpen . .

The moribund Milwaukee Brewers have lost their manager [Ron Roenicke] and general manager [Doug Melvin] this season while skidding along the basement of the NL Central . . .

If the Mets make the playoffs, they will have their first postseason visit since 2006 and their first winning record since 2008 . . .

Atlanta is so starved for runs that it should consider adding versatile speed merchants Eric Young, Jr., languishing at Triple-A Gwinnett, and Emilio Bonifacio, an ex-Brave just designated for assignment by the White Sox . . .

The South Siders have two standouts in slugger Jose Abreu and

2014 AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu has maintained his momentum

2014 AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu has maintained his momentum

pitcher Chris Sale, who just notched the second 15-strikeout game of his career . . .

Mazel tov to Miggy Cabrera, who just became the lifetime leader among Venezuelans in runs batted in, topping Andres Galarraga. Cabrera, back in the Tigers lineup after missing six weeks with a strained left calf, became the Venezuelan home run king earlier this season . . .

Kansas City loves having erstwhile Cincinnati ace Johnny Cueto, who threw a four-hit, 4-0 shutout against Detroit in his home debut for the Royals . . .

Much-heralded infielder Jose Peraza, mysteriously traded from the Braves to the Dodgers late last month, has been promoted to the majors to play second base in Los Angeles . . .

Yankees rookie Luis Severino may be here to stay after going 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 Triple-A starts . . .

Veteran infielder Chase Utley could get into the postseason picture

Chase Utley should change uniforms soon

Chase Utley should change uniforms soon

too since the Phillies are taking offers from the Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Dodgers, and Angels . . .

Fighting for survival in the AL East, the Yankees look forward to returning Michael Pineda (strained forearm) to their rotation . . .

The poor Marlins again are minus their two gate attractions, with slugger Giancarlo Stanton and pitcher Jose Fernandez on the DL at the same time again . . .

The 33-inning scoreless streak Toronto crafted against the Yankees is the longest any opponent has silenced the Bombers . . .

Toronto is cutting a Blue (Jay) streak across the American League, with a pair of 11-game winning streaks this season . . .

With his current batting line (.245, four home runs), Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner could be batting cleanup for the punchless

Madison Bumgarner has four homers this season

Madison Bumgarner has four homers this season

Braves . . .

Atlanta’s best pitcher, Shelby Miller, has twice taken no-hitters into the eighth this year but has not won in 15 starts – despite a 2.43 ERA . . .

Veteran lefty Wandy Rodriguez, who has bounced from the Braves to the Rangers this season, has now resurfaced with the Kansas City Royals . . .

Proving that strange things happen in blowouts, Oakland first baseman Ike Davis wound up pitching to Baltimore pitcher Jason Garcia Sunday – and walked him . . .

Wondering whether Washington will ax Matt Williams before or after the end of the season . . .

Rockies rookie Chris Rusin got his first complete game with a rare Coors Field shutout against the San Diego Padres . . .

Seattle’s sad-sack bullpen has lost 26 games this season but Atlanta “leads” the NL in that dubious category with 24 – and 13 of the 27 relievers used by the Braves thus far have ERAs over 5.00 . . .

Ian Desmond has pop but has not had a great year

Ian Desmond has pop but has not had a great year

With Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond virtually certain to leave via free agency, the Nats have a great replacement in rookie Trea Turner, a player scouts already compare to Dustin Pedroia . . .

Michael Morse (Pirates) and Mat Latos (Dodgers), dumped by the Marlins in the same salary-slicing swap, both attended the first Fish game, on April 5, 1993 . . .

Players who played for all four teams that originated in New York: Darryl Strawberry, Jose Vizcaino, and Ricky Ledee.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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